A look at the NLCS, ALCS
Parity in Major League Baseball (MLB) has never been better, and proof of that comes with the playoff results since 2000.
The last team to win consecutive World Series titles was the New York Yankees, who won three in a row from 1998-2000. In the last 13 years, every MLB team, except the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals, has appeared in the post-season.
Fifteen of the 30 teams have made the expanded playoffs in the last two years, and 21 teams have made the post-season in the last five years.
Since 2000, only the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants have won more than one World Series – two each. Nine different teams have won the World Series in that time frame.
It is tough to pick a winner of this year's Fall Classic, or who will even be in it as any one of the four remaining teams has a good chance of making it to the 2013 World Series, which begins Wednesday, Oct. 23.
The National League Championship Series (NLCS) began Friday night in St. Louis, with the Cardinals hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is hard to pick a clear-cut favourite in this series.
Any time the Cardinals are playing one can bet that they will give the opposing team all they can handle. The Cards will have their hands full as the Dodgers are on a roll, and will be tough to beat.
The Dodgers have four players – Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford – all hitting over .350 in this year's playoffs. The Dodgers have probably the game's best left-handed pitcher in Clayton Kershaw to go along with right-hander Zack Greinke.
In a long series these two should get two starts each, and that may be enough to give the Dodgers the edge. Combine that with their hot hitters, and I pick the Dodgers to win in six games.
The American League Championship Series (ALCS) opens at fabled Fenway Park in Boston on Saturday night, and it shapes up to be quite a series between the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers.
It is the first-ever playoff matchup between these two teams, and that would be because they both were members of the American League East Division for so many years before MLB went to the three-division format.
The Tigers won the season series with the Red Sox 4-3, and that just may be an indication of how close the ALCS may be.
Boston seems like that team of destiny, and has been the most consistent American League team from start to finish this year. Except for a very brief period in early May, these bearded Bosox have led the American League East from start to finish.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and David Ortiz are all hitting over .385 this post-season. Boston has a great line-up, and is a very sound defensive team that will be very tough to beat.
The Tigers go into this series with their hitting beginning to shake that September slump, and that could spell trouble for the Red Sox.
Starting pitching may be the difference in this series, with the Tigers having the edge there. Probable Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are as good as any two right-handed pitchers in the game. Anibal Sanchez will receive consideration for this year's Cy Young based on his league-leading earned-run average, and throw in 14-game winner Doug Fister and the Red Sox have quite a staff to deal with.
Good pitching always beats good hitting, and if that is the case once again the Tigers may have the edge. The Tigers’ hitting will need to get better, which it appears to be. If Detroit hits the way they are capable of, the Red Sox will have their hands full.
It may be a choice coming from the heart, but I will take the Tigers to win this series in seven games. But I will not be surprised to see Boston advance.
Sometimes, in sports, it does not matter how good your team is – those destined teams prevail, and that may be the case here. It should be a great series.
Rich teams win
The four teams that remain in MLB’s playoff hunt all have high payrolls. In fact, all four teams are in the top 10.
The Dodgers are baseball's highest-paid team with a staggering $217 million payroll. The Red Sox are the third-highest paid team at $174 million, followed by the Tigers in fifth spot at $153 million. The Cardinals are the 11th-highest paid team at $119 million. The total for the four teams is $663 million dollars.
Twenty years ago on Oct. 10, 1993, the P.E.I. Senators played their first-ever American Hockey League regular-season game before a capacity crowd of 3,417 fans at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
The Sens lost 3-2 to the Fredericton Canadiens as a double minor to P.E.I. captain Kent Paynter proved very costly. The Canadiens scored two power-play goals in the last minute to wipe out a 2-1 Senators’ lead.
Goals by Craig Ferguson and Turner Stevenson gave the Canadiens a 3-2 win. Andy Schneider and Tony Cimellaro scored for the Senators.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.